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Cuba is a tough nut to crack, apparently. We’ve already seen American and jetBlue downgauge their flights from the US, and now it seems that two airlines are dropping out of the market all together!
Victim #1: Frontier
The only route Frontier was awarded was Miami (MIA) to Havana (HAV), and service began December 1st of last year with one daily flight. Frontier exiting this market should come as no surprise, as the airline is not shy about quickly exiting markets that aren’t performing to their standards. And what a quick exit it will be: the last flight to Cuba takes off June 4th, which is just over six months of service.
In an e-mail to USA Today, Frontier pointed to over-capacity and the cost of operating as reasons for exiting the US-Cuba market.
If you’re looking for a cheap flight to Havana, I’d be wary of Frontier. They’re often known for limited schedules, and when an issue arises, it might be hard to get to your destination in a timely manner.
(READ MORE: The huge problem flying Frontier)
Victim #2: Silver Airways
The second victim in the US-Cuba market is Silver Airways, a small airline based in Florida that uses a fleet of Saab 340 turboprops to buzz around the Sunshine State and nearby destinations. They had been awarded nine routes to Cuba, which you can see on the map below. Most routes only saw service a few times a week.
Silver is providing even less notice than Frontier, with all flights to be suspended on April 22nd, which is about five weeks away. According to a spokesperson at the company:
Silver Airways will monitor that market and might jump back in if conditions warrant. But she noted that, for now, Cuban routes are not viable. “[A] lack of demand coupled with overcapacity by the larger airlines has made the Cuban routes unprofitable for all carriers.”
As I said above, Cuba is a tough nut to crack. We’ve seen downgauges from two airlines and service suspensions from two airlines. To be honest, I see Alaska’s service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Havana (HAV) being the next route dropped–I just can’t seem to figure out how they’re going to make any money on that route.
Given that the authorities to fly these routes were hotly contested, I’m wondering if we’ll see another airline, specifically American, try to pick up Frontier’s vacated Havana slot. It could be a good land grab, if demand for Cuba ever seems to pick up.
Were you planning on flying either Frontier or Silver to Cuba? Let us know below!
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It started with WAY TOO much speculative thoughts that all of this service would be used. I think it will be years before these markets are worth keeping.